Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Insensitive

This Saturday, August 28th, is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. In many ways, this memorial is sacred ground, a regal tribute to a President whose actions eventually led to making the American dream a reality for all of our citizens. From those steps, as you can see in the picture below, you can see the Washington Monument, a structure built to honor our first President; a structure whose construction had been halted during the Civil War that nearly destroyed our country but a structure that was saved in part because of Lincoln’s determination to save the country. In the distance past the Washington Monument you can see the United States Capitol Building. The view encompasses a broad range of symbols representing what makes our nation great.



This Saturday there will be a rally on those same steps, produced by a radio talk show hack named Glenn and featuring a former state governor and wannabe national political leader named Sarah. Sarah recently spoke out against the proposed Islamic center to be built two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center complex that was destroyed by terrorists nine years ago. She said “…this is an insensitive move by those Muslims that want to build a mosque in this location … That feels like a stab in the heart collectively of Americans who still have that lingering pain from 9/11.”

A Facebook friend of mine made an interesting rebuttal to that. He says: “The insensitivity is accepting all Muslims to be terrorists.” Some Muslims are terrorists but most are not! Do we condemn all Christians as a result of the acts of that 'Christian' terrorist organization called the Ku Klux Klan?

Of course our Constitution allows freedom of speech, which means that a special place like the steps of the Lincoln Memorial can be the site for a civil rights rally in 1963, a “restore honor” rally in 2010 and probably rallies by Islamic groups and the KKK. They all have the right to say what they say and we all have the right to listen or not listen.

So I find this rather disturbing. There is a website with information for potential attendees of this rally outlining visitor suggestions for their stay in DC. Mixed in with restaurant recommendations and other practical information is the following notes about Metro, the DC area subway system:

If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night. There is of course nothing wrong with many other areas; but you don't know where you are, so you should not explore them.

If you’re a regular on Metro, you’ll see that the areas they suggest avoiding all have predominately African-American residents. Draw your own conclusion; I’ve drawn mine.

This group’s brand of fear-mongering is an affront to my sensibilities but if Glenn and Sarah want to have their insensitive rally on the same steps of Dr. King’s speech on the anniversary of that event, let them. It is their right. I’ll be busy exercising my right to celebrate my freedom with some friends at a Maryland wine-tasting event.

God bless America! … all of it and everyone in it!
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Back to the Islamic Center near the WTC site in New York for a second. In case you didn’t know, the reconstructed part of the Pentagon, which was also destroyed on 9-11, includes a non-denominational prayer room dedicated to those who died that day. It is IN the Pentagon and open to all faiths. I understand there are two daily Muslim prayer meetings regularly scheduled in that room. Here are stories about the room:



And Click Here for an ABC story on the prayer room.

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